One young woman confided in me her shock and dismay at discovering that most religious families have half a dozen children, and some a full dozen!

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Their encounter took place across my kitchen table.

Q: Given the dire state of overpopulation in the world, isn't it socially irresponsible to give birth to eleven children?

And aren't you also depriving them of the enrichments which, let's face it, only money can buy?

A: When you talk about time and energy – as with any other resource, you have to ask how much is required to achieve your goal.

Certainly, the amount of spiritual light in the world is increased by the presence of more good people.

Conversely, producing just two children whose basic self-definition is as materialists and consumers, using a disproportionate amount of the world's resources for their physical satisfaction, may deplete the world more than it benefits the world. Of my children who have reached adulthood – all are in the helping professions.

Q: If this is indeed the goal of your community, then we should find numerous examples of adults who are significantly helping the world. Two of my daughters and one of my sons are teachers.

My second daughter directs a special education facility.

Why are so many apparently intelligent women filling up their already cramped apartments and emptying their already depleted pocketbooks in an energetic effort to produce large families?

" Having married a month short of my 39th birthday, I felt blessed to have two children – one born when I was 41, another when I was 46.

A: It's very easy to attribute all the things that are wrong with the world to external causes.